Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves

Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves

Adam L. Penenberg

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1401323499

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Adam Penenberg's lively book opens a window to all of our futures..."
--Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It

"If you want to understand all things viral, this is the place to start. Penenberg's reporting gives us a ringside seat for some of the biggest viral success stories in history, from Tupperware to Ning."
--Dan Heath, co-author of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die?

"One of the most astounding things about the Web age is how the best advertising is often no advertising at all. Penenberg masterfully explains how this works with case studies of products that were designed to spread. Every product can use a dose of this technique; this is the book to get to learn how."
--Chris Anderson, author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price

"In tight, engaging prose, Adam captures the essence of the ever-scaling power of the virus. It's not just for geeks anymore."

--Seth Godin, author of Tribes

"Penenberg discovers the perpetual motion machine for business and marketing... Buy this book. Catch a virus. Make a fortune."
--Jeff Jarvis

"Penenberg has unlocked the secret to the most successful digital businesses. An indispensable read."
--Robert Safian, Editor-in-Chief, Fast Company

"Instead of entrusting your business to a guru with an agenda and a ghostwriter, you should be turning to a pro journalist like Adam Penenberg, who understands the way media and money interact, has the critical faculty to engage with these phenomena in an unbiased fashion, and the technical facility to explain them to you in an entirely engaging, informative, and actionable way."
--Douglas Rushkoff, author of Media Virus and Life Inc: How the world became a corporation and how to take it back.

Here's something you may not know about today's Internet. Simply by designing your product the right way, you can build a flourishing business from scratch. No advertising or marketing budget, no need for a sales force, and venture capitalists will flock to throw money at you.

Many of the most successful Web 2.0 companies, including MySpace, YouTube, eBay, and rising stars like Twitter and Flickr, are prime examples of what journalist Adam L. Penenberg calls a "viral loop"--to use it, you have to spread it. After all, what's the sense of being on Facebook if none of your friends are The result: Never before has there been the potential to create wealth this fast, on this scale, and starting with so little.

In this game-changing must-read, Penenberg tells the fascinating story of the entrepreneurs who first harnessed the unprecedented potential of viral loops to create the successful online businesses--some worth billions of dollars--that we have all grown to rely on. The trick is that they created something people really want, so much so that their customers happily spread the word about their product for them.

All kinds of businesses--from the smallest start-ups to nonprofit organizations to the biggest multinational corporations--can use the paradigm-busting power of viral loops to enable their business through technology. Viral Loop is a must-read for any entrepreneur or business interested in uncorking viral loops to benefit their bottom line.

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BOOM, BUST, AND BEYOND ] All of this was made possible by the advent of a fast, efficient mode to disseminate content, which arose from a deep, almost perilous crash, a cycle of failure that created the world we live in today. The pattern starts with a new technology that is greeted by equal parts ardor and ire. As the past two centuries have shown, great technological innovations—railroads, telegraph, telephone, electricity, cars, radios, the personal computer—first overcome skepticism, take

attempting to monetize a tiny fraction, charging $13.99 a year (or $4.99 a month) for a premium subscription. This gains you access to “content you can use for expression, which has value,” Spiradellis says. For example, a subscriber can insert his head on one of the characters and send it out as an e-card to all of his friends, or post it on his MySpace page. Even nonsubscribers can do that, which is what 12 million people did with the Obama-McCain Time for Some Campaignin’ video. “Traditional

were socially tied to everybody else. “If they had just made that one change, [Facebook] might not be here today.” A more modernday example of a company that has had major hiccups along the way is Twitter, which at its core confronts a similar computation challenge to the one that brought Friendster to its knees. While a heavily trafficked site like Yahoo burns bandwidth by serving up millions of webpages and images, it faces a known and predictable scaling equation. Social networks engage in

the company to his Palo Alto landlord—and went on a hiring binge. Because Thiel’s ultimate plan was to create a Web-based currency to undermine government tax structures, which would require taking on powerful interests like commercial banking, the cofounders sought people a lot like them: hypercompetitive, well-read, multilingual workaholics who had, above all, a proficiency in math and an aversion to authority. At first they hired from within their own “concentric circles,” as Thiel described

site was a money loser. In 2000 YouthStream Media Network bought it for $125 million in stock and promptly shut it down. The one thing of value it retained was a patent: no. 6,175,831, “method and apparatus for constructing a networking database and system,” which Weinreich was awarded in 2001. The patent covers the software platform for an online service that enables users to build relationship networks, that is, the viral invitation system that goes to the heart of online social networking.

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